The year 2017 left us breathless with so many surprising headlines in finance, technology, entertainment and politics across the world. Here are the top trends for the coming year
1. Influencer marketing will remain a useful strategy with a little twist of emotional engagement
About 85 per cent of marketers who use the influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Brands interested in connecting with customers and prospects via social media will continue to turn to influencer marketing.
Influencers create compelling content that appears to be organic in many cases.
Consumers, especially younger ones, prefer content that feels less “commercial” and more natural. The world of advertising is changing. It is moving toward subtle sponsored content promoted by influencers, micro-influencers or brand champions. It is becoming easier to find everyday people already raving about a new product on Instagram making it compelling and attractive to consumers. And new software makes it simple to turn those posts into campaigns.
Note: An influencer is someone who gets paid to promote a brand while a brand champion is someone who genuinely likes a products or brand and talks about them whether they are being paid or not.
2. E-commerce will hold sway
Corporate America’s obsession with Amazon runs so deep that the company is mentioned more in corporate earnings calls than even Trump, Bloomberg found.
“The big business shift for 2018 in most sectors will be WWAD: What will Amazon do?” says Focus Brand’s Cole. “Amazon and other large technologically-enabled marketplace disruptors will become the first filter for strategy for traditional retail and service business models. Google may be forced to come up with a new marketing strategy for Youtube as Amazon becomes it biggest rival with the possible launch of AmazonTube in 2018 due to the current dispute between the two companies.
More online businesses are expected to go offline or have that option this year. The shifts in how consumers search, find, order and receive goods and services are already affecting legacy businesses and 2018 will evoke more corporate awakening, where this impact is clearly seen in strategy, acquisitions and profits.
3. Bitcoin value will drop hard in 2018
The cryptocurrency that grew tremendously in 2017, rising from below $1,000 at the start of the year to nearly $19,000, will crash in 2018, warns Danielle DiMartino Booth, president of Money Strong and a LinkedIn Top Voice. “The bitcoin bubble has long since surpassed anything in recorded history in terms of the size of the bubble. If it were to continue through 2018, we’re going to be in real trouble, because then it’s going to have the ability to contaminate other parts of the financial system, and bring it down with it,” she says.
Whether the potential for it to burst will discourage those invested in the cryptocurrency and make them reconsider their investment choices remains to be seen. We will see other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Ethereum gain more value while Bitcoin will drop to about 40 per cent in 2018.
4. #MeToo may have defined 2017
The Weinstein effect, the flood of sexual harassment claims in 2017, may usher in a change in how society treats those who are wronged. “There will be a shift of consciousness around appropriate behavior,” says Kat Cole, COO and president of North America at Focus Brands, whose chains include Cinnabon and McAlister’s Deli. Women will no longer shrug off inappropriate behavior; they’ll speak up, amplify each other and push for change. While #MeToo may have defined 2017, watch out for a new movement hashtag in 2018.
5. Business owners and decision makers will utilise big data and data analytics
If you have the right data, then a professional digital marketer can understand the exact customer behaviour and what it takes to deliver the best services to them, especially this year when the trend of providing real-time responses to consumers is growing increasingly and we expect the trend to go even further in 2018.
When equipped with the right marketing arsenal/tools, any digital marketing agency or professional can utilise big data.
Here are some key examples that help us understand the impact and increasing importance of big data in 2018.
Highly data-oriented businesses are five times more likely to improve their decision-making processes.
Nine out of 10 business owners feel their businesses have missed opportunities because sales agents were not able to make the most out of the information to them.
We expect big data industry to reach around $102 billion by the end of 2018.
With digital technology on the rise to sophistication and global acceptance, the scope for different businesses and brands to engage and interact with their target market is boundless today — 2017 being the most active year up till now. Therefore, it is ‘now’ that companies should start incorporating these trends in their planning processes for 2018. You may be a nice six months ahead of the actual execution phase, but getting well-prepared beforehand will give you a competitive edge.
6. Rumored Apple Augmented Reality (AR) glasses will give virtual reality (VR) to the mainstream
In the years preceding 2016, virtual reality was predicted to be the next big thing in content. While VR is popular in the videogame community, it has not gone mainstream. This is probably for the best, as it can be difficult for brands to produce content with a controlled point of view. Instead of VR, AR is slated to make waves in 2018. Apple’s rumored AR glasses will make that happen.
7. Twitter may still struggle with ads in 2018
Twitter has been unable to grow users in 2017. The platform has focused on user acquisition rather than on making improvements to its ad platform. As a result, marketers use other social media platforms to connect with prospects. This trend will continue in 2018 as Twitter continues to struggle. It does not appear that the increment of allowed characters for each tweet from 140 to 280 will make a difference in the number of active users on the microblogging platform. It is hoped that a strategy to monetise the popularity of Twitter as a result of the US President’s obsession with the platform will be fashioned and result in an improved ad situation for the company.
8, Expect more cyber threats not just for organisations in 2018
Cyber threats and the number of attacks will continue to grow. The numbers here can vary, but predictions are reaching in the neighbourhood of $6 trillion in global cyber attack damage by 2021, according to data from Cybersecurity Ventures. This would make cybercrime larger, economically, than all of the drug trafficking in the world combined. As a result, according to Gartner, spending on cybersecurity is expected to hit $93 billion globally in 2018 as more individuals and organisations will get attacked. More White Hats are needed – there is a persistent cybersecurity-skills shortage, which means the cost of hiring good cyber security experts to help firms combat cybercrime will rise sharply. Of course, expect to see more spending on technology and compliance infrastructure too.